Help Identifying Species of Wood #1: Need an ID on Yellowish wood that smells like cows please!

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Blog entry by KnotCurser posted 08-04-2011 12:23 AM 28906 reads 0 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Help Identifying Species of Wood series Part 2: And we have a Winner! »

I need some help!

A couple of weeks ago, our State sent their minions around to prune all of the growth back from the sides of our roadways. Overall they do a good job – they actually prune rather than slash and hack.

They did take down an entire HUGE tree that was growing WAY too close to the corner of our main intersection, which was a good thing as well. They also left most of the larger sections of wood cut into 3-5 foot sections!

I grabbed a piece today as it looked very interesting – sort of a chocolate/cinnamon color and ran it through my bandsaw. WOW – this bright yellow wood with a fantastic grain pattern emerged!

I am pretty sure this stuff is Black Locust, but am hoping someone could “Second” that.

The one giveaway I find is that is smells like a Cow Paddock.

Anyone care to gander a guess?

As you can see in the last two pics, it oxidizes a rather strange brown color.

These pieces I am slabbing off are easily 14” high – I LOVE my Rikon Band Saw!!!! :-)


-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

21 comments so far

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9220 posts in 2823 days

#1 posted 08-04-2011 12:27 AM

Wow, that is great Bob. It really is pretty and I am sure you are going to do some wonderful things with it. I, too am interested in seeing what type of wood it is. What a great find!

Sheila :)

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 3809 days

#2 posted 08-04-2011 12:29 AM

The smell throws me off…Looking at it I would say almost 100% positive mulberry…but is has a sweet smell (to me anyway)

View rance's profile


4256 posts in 3064 days

#3 posted 08-04-2011 01:02 AM

I’d say No to Black Locust. I believe it would be darker, and browner rather than yellow. I’m guessing more towards Hedge Apple/Boise D’ Arc(sp?) I have no idea as to the Cows Pad-Lock.

Rance (who’s worst skill is identifying wood)

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View WayneC's profile


13751 posts in 4001 days

#4 posted 08-04-2011 01:04 AM

I not going to be any help. I’m not sure I know what a cow smells like. : ^ )

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View lew's profile


11941 posts in 3659 days

#5 posted 08-04-2011 01:24 AM

At first I thought it was Elm- from the look of the bark. But the Elm color isn’t usually that yellow. Maybe Honey Locust?

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Woodowl's profile


19 posts in 2410 days

#6 posted 08-04-2011 01:31 AM

Is it very dense…? It may be Osage orange

View KnotCurser's profile


2024 posts in 2972 days

#7 posted 08-04-2011 01:43 AM

It splits WAY too easily to be Elm. Osage Orange most certainly does not grow in my neck of the woods – I wish it did though! ;-)

The smell is more like a dairy barn after all the cows have left – I don’t know how else to describe it. Very earthy and fresh, but most certainly cow.

After doing a bit of searching I have the idea that it is almost certainly a locust of some sort.

Honey, Yellow or Black – all of which grow in my neck of the woods.

I have to see if I can find a branch with leaves and/or thorns – I’ll take a pick-through tomorrow…........


-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

View Alster's profile


100 posts in 3117 days

#8 posted 08-04-2011 02:54 AM

That’s Osage Orange, or bois d’arc, or hedge, whatever you want to call it. We have tons of it around here—it splits very easily, burns hot, and makes nice turned vessels and planes and anything else you’d like. Enjoy it!

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3067 posts in 3012 days

#9 posted 08-04-2011 02:59 AM

Cownary wood…

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View DamnYankee's profile


3301 posts in 2465 days

#10 posted 08-04-2011 03:04 AM

Nice find. In the process of refurbing a bandsaw (my first bandsaw) and hope to make similar finds.

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

View KnotCurser's profile


2024 posts in 2972 days

#11 posted 08-04-2011 03:10 AM

Woodowl, I have to apologize – When Alster called it as Osage Orange I did another search and found out it most certainly DOES grow here in Maryland, and I think we have a positive identification!

Now that I see what it looks like after it dries, I think I am going to go out there with my flat trailer and take every piece I can and hide it behind my woodshed!

This stuff is really pretty wood!


-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2593 days

#12 posted 08-04-2011 03:10 AM

It looks like hedge [osage orange] but you say that doesnt grow in MD so the next thought would be mulberry. Both are very yellow but mulberry is much lighter and much softer. Hedge has thorns. Im not familiar with any other wood that shade of yellow. Dried hedge is VERY hard and VERY heavy as well.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View SSMDad's profile


395 posts in 2500 days

#13 posted 08-04-2011 04:08 AM

Right across the potomac from you Bob (VA) and though I can’t be sure, it reminds me of the osage orange trees when I was a kid. I remember them splitting sometimes from ice and it did kind of smell the way you describe it.
Beautiful wood you found there!

-- Chris ~~Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."

View ksSlim's profile


1268 posts in 2793 days

#14 posted 08-04-2011 05:52 AM

Hedge, Bois D’arc or Osage Orange. Takes a looooong time to dry or season. I turned a lamp for my Mom from an old fence post, 25 years later, the lamp split with a loud pop. Still can’t believe an old post, turned, finished, and used, could wait another 25 years to split.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View deermann's profile


30 posts in 2987 days

#15 posted 08-04-2011 01:39 PM

Definitely Osage Orange!! The cinnamon color after setting is a giveaway. Good stuff for making longbows and recurves bows with. Have fun with it!!

-- Isaac Mitchell, Anderson,Indiana,

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